jcwilliams: I knew a guy who had the same problem. His wife accused him of having bad hearing, so he went to a specialist and had his hearing checked. The report said had excellent hearing, so he went home and showed the report to his wife. After that, whenever his wife made a (half) comment or spoke a half-thought, he would respond with "ok, I heard ...". He said it made more improvement in his marriage than anything else he had done in their 30 years together.
Thank you, jcwilliams, you have hit the nail on the head.
For a long time I have been led to believe that I've not been attentive enough. Any thoughts on how I can put it to the wife that she's been verbalizing only a portion of her entire thought process to me all these years - with out this leading to a misunderstanding?